single member districts

On My Block
6:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Austin: What's the One Thing That Would Make Life On Your Block Better?

What one thing would make life on your block better? KUT wants to hear from you.

What's the one thing that would make life on your block better?

As Austin prepares for its first elections with 10 new geographic districts, KUT is diving deeply into District One, which covers large parts of East Austin. But we want to hear from you, regardless of where you live. Tell us: What would make life better on your block? 

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Politics
8:10 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Austin's Political Players Look to Gain Seats on New City Council

Austin's switch to geographic representation has groups traditionally locked out of City Hall eying seats on the council dais.

This article was co-produced as part of an ongoing City Hall reporting partnership between the Austin Monitor and KUT. Listen to the audio story broadcast on KUT in the player below. 

With single-member districts soon to become a reality, Austin City Council candidates are already lining up to crowd what promises to be a very full November ballot. Austin's political insiders and outsiders alike are trying to get a handle on an election that promises to shape the city for years to come.

Roger Borgelt is vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. He also served as co-chair of the Austinites for Geographic Representation – the group responsible for getting 10-1 on the ballot. He says that he is excited about the promise of more localized, neighborhood representation, as well as the possibility of conservatives (or at least fiscal conservatives) taking some of the 11 open City Council seats.

 

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City Hall Hustle
2:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

City Hall Hustle: The Long, Winding Road to 10-1

A detail of a map plotting the applicants for the city's Applicant Review Panel, which will help select the group that draws Austin's districts.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Hustle on the move toward geographic representation

After seven tries and several decades, geographic representation is finally coming to the City of Austin. And as the city prepares, the vortex of activity swirls around … none other than three certified public accountants.

That’s the Applicant Review Panel. It’s a group of three CPAs, randomly selected from a group of applicants, who will vet applicants for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That’s the group that will ultimately draw the district lines.

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Geographic Representation
1:59 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Last Call for 10-1 Applicants - And CPAs! (Update)

Application forms can be found online and at city facilities including the Austin libraries, recreation and senior facilities, and City Hall.
City of Austin, KUT News

Update: City Auditor Kenneth Mory says only nine of the 66 people who have applied to sit on a redistricting review panel are qualified to serve – and all of those people are white.

A three-person panel of accountants is being assembled to select a pool of qualified applicants that may serve on the redistricting commission. (Click here for an overview of the redistricting process.) Mory says it has been hard to get qualified CPAs interested because it is tax season. And many CPAs have or want to work with the city – which would be a conflict of interest.

Mory says he thinks his office has done as much as possible to recruit a diverse group.

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Geographic Representation
2:13 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

First Step in Austin's Redistricting Process: A Diverse Commission

A detail of a map released by the City Auditor's office, plotting where redistricrting commission applicants live.
KUT News

This summer, Austin will begin drawing its first city council districts.

The long slog towards geographic representation has been an uphill one: a fight to get the measure on the ballot, a hard-fought campaign and, once the measure was approved, fear an all-volunteer committee to draw council districts would fail to attract diverse and representative candidates. But with the help of the city auditor and community groups, the list of applicants has swelled from fewer than a hundred nearly two weeks ago to just under 250 at last count on Feb. 14.

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Austin City Council
5:16 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

City Council Allocates Austin's $14 Million Budget Surplus (Update)

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole offers her thoughts on the budget to her colleagues.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Update: In a protracted and somewhat testy meeting, the Austin City Council budgeted and allocated the sum of the city’s $14 million budget surplus.

The day’s big winner? Affordable housing initiatives, which were earmarked for $10 million. Wildfire fuel mitigation received a little over $1 million, the Child Inc. after-school program received $557,000, and a pilot program for 24 hour patrol of the Hike & Bike Trail received $350,000. You can view a complete list of the council’s actions.

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Austin
5:33 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Diversity Lacking Among Austin's District Commission Applicants

The next Austin City Council will be chosen by district.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Austin’s city auditor is practically begging more people to apply to be on the board that will draw the first geographic districts for the City Council. So far, fewer than 100 have applied, and they are overwhelmingly white and male.

It’s not the kind of wide participation proponents of the charter amendment that created district representation had in mind. But it’s similar to what happened in San Diego, a city that was just redistricted in 2011.

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Geographic Representation
6:01 am
Wed January 9, 2013

How Many People Are Barred From Serving on Austin's Redistricting Commission?

The scene at Lee Leffingwell's election watch party last May. Conflict of interest standards in Prop 3 will exclude many politically-involved Austinites.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

In recent years, only two cities – San Diego and Minneapolis – have gone through the process Austin is initiating: drawing geographic city council districts that reflect the city's diversity.

Now Austin is giving it a try, beginning the process of assembling an independent citizens redistricting commission. The search is on for a diverse group of Austinites that will make up the commission.

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Geographic Representation
12:55 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Will Tax Time Hurt the City’s Hunt for Redistricting Volunteers?

As accountants' busiest time of year approaches - tax season - the city is looking for CPAs to get Austin's redistricting process going.
flickr.com/kozumel

Audio story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

Starting next week, citizens can apply to serve on the independent redistricting commission that will draw Austin's 10 city council districts. 

Commission applicants will be sorted through by a group of three certified public accountants. They will be in charge of getting the redistricting commission going by creating a pool of the 60 most qualified applicants. Out of those candidates, a group of 14 will ultimately draw Austin's first district maps. (Click here for an overview of the redistricting process.)

But the timing is a little crazy, because W-2 forms are in the mail as we speak. And right about now is the kick-off of the busiest time of the year for CPAs:  tax season. But Austin needs CPAs to apply as volunteers now, in order to kick off the entire district-drawing process. 

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Geographic Representation
6:00 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Infographic: How Austin's City Council Districts Will Get Drawn

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

In November, voters approved a historic change to Austin’s form of government.

For most of Austin’s modern history, the city council has been elected citywide, or at-large. With the passage of Proposition 3 last year, voters approved a change to geographic representation, where an independent citizens commission will create 10 city council districts.

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Geographic Representation
4:04 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Auditor Calls for Input on City Redistricting Process

Wells Dunbar/KUT News

Auditor Calls for Input on City Redistricting Process

It may seem like government offices are in slow mode during the holiday season, but Austin's City Auditor is working against the clock. That's because there’s a very strict timeline the auditor needs to meet in order to put together the group that will draw Austin’s new city council district maps. 

The auditor is following the guidelines and timeline laid out in Proposition 3. That was the citizen-initiated charter amendment passed by Austin voters last month. But some of the terminology in Prop 3 needs to be tweaked into more official legal terms in some cases. In others, it just needs to be clarified. So, the City of Austin's Auditor, Kenneth Mory, is asking for citizen input.

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City Council
1:58 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Process for Drawing Austin’s City Council Districts Begins

Four new seats are coming to the dais in city council chambers.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Now that Austin’s 10 district plan for geographic representation has passed, the real work begins.

Austinites voted last month to change the way city council members are elected. Instead of all members being elected at-large, the city will be split into districts. Ten city council members will be elected through those districts and only the mayor will represent the entire city.

The City of Austin’s Office of the City Auditor, tasked with much of the legwork in implementing the plan, has created a website, 10 One, looking for volunteers to get the process going.

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Geographic Representation
1:48 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Now With Prop 3 Passed, Backers Look to Stay Part of the Process

Prop 3 supporters, including Nelson Linder and Jessica Ellison (foreground) , announced formation of an "advisory group" today.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

The group of Austinites that collected signatures to get a single-member district plan on the November ballot wants to remain a part of the process now that Proposition 3 has passed. 

Prop 3 supporters, Austinites for Geographic Representation, gathered at City Hall today to announce the formation of an “advisory committee” to ensure single-member districts by 2014.

Former state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, one of Prop 3 most active promoters, was on hand. He says many of the original activists are eager to help. 

“There are many people in Austin who participated, who are experts and have decades of experience in the different fields of redistricting, of drawing lines, of fair representation,” Barrientos said. “And we want to facilitate the city efforts – whatever we can help with – we have hundreds of years of experience among all these folks.”

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Charter Election
12:54 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Watching the Returns With Austinites for Geographic Representation

Linda Curtis signs a thank you card to the people who helped put Prop 3 on the ballot
Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News

By 8 p.m. the mood at Opal Divine's was already celebratory, with Proposition 3 supporters pumping 10-1 signs in the air.

Members of Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), the backers of Prop 3 and sponsors of the watch party, were clad in 10-1 stickers. Drinks and laughter flowed freely.  An oversized projector at the back of the private room displayed local election coverage.

Former State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos – chair of the city commission that narrowly recommended the 10-1 plan, and a staunch backer of Prop 3 – greeted fellow guests. "I've been around elections for a long time," Barrientos said. "It's a weird feeling in the beginning. I never like to jump too quickly upon hearing good news, and it's been good news up to this point. If I were a betting person, I would bet that proposition three would win." 

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City Council
8:47 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Council Closer to Setting November Election

Under two proposals reorganizing city government, the council dais would grow from seven to 11 seats.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Austin City Council is focusing on the November election in a work session today.

The council is set to consider putting another option on the ballot for voters who want council members to be elected from geographic districts. The so-called “8-2-1” plan would allow for eight council members from geographic districts. The mayor and two additional council members would be elected at-large.

If approved, the option would be one of two on the November ballot. Under the competing “10-1” plan, which was placed on the ballot by petiotion, only the mayor would be elected at-large. Currently, all council members are elected at-large.

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Austin
3:35 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Council Takes Another Step Toward District Showdown

Council member Mike Martinez was one of only two members to vote against putting the 8-2-1 plan before voters.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Voters are one step closer to seeing competing plans for Austin City Council representation on the ballot this fall – a move supporters say gives Austinites a choice, and opponents argue will doom both proposals to failure.

At its work session today, the council approved placing the so-called “8-2-1” scenario for future city council elections on the ballot this fall. As KUT News reported earlier this week, the item proposes eight individual, single-member council districts, with the mayor and two additional council members running citywide.

The proposal  is at odds with Austinites for Geographic Representation’s (AGR) 10-1 district plan – 10 single-member districts, with only the mayor running at-large. With the AGR plan earning a place on the ballot via petition, some council members argued against putting a competing measure before voters.

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City Council
3:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Four Months Before City Election, the Knives Are Already Out

Austinites for Geographic Representation brought an estimated 30,000 signatures for its 10-1 plan to city Hall yesterday.
Andy Uhler for KUT News

“I’m a little bit surprised  that the two primary contagonists here are divulging their strategies before the race is even on .”

So said Mayor Lee Leffingwell at last night’s Austin City Council meeting, debating the merits of competing plans for geographic representation. Judging by the late hour at which the comment came (just half an hour shy of midnight) one can forgive the mayor for coining a new term: contagonists, a seeming mash-up of antagonists, competitors and/or comrades.

But serendipitously enough, that’s a fitting term for the pair Leffingwell was referring to: veteran political consultants Peck Young (there on behalf of Austinites for Geographic Representation’s 10-1 district plan) and David Butts (pushing for the council to propose a “hybrid” scenario – eight single-member districts, with two additional council members and the mayor running at-large).

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Austin
3:09 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Will the November Ballot See A Pair of Geographic Representation Plans?

Andy Uhler

Right now - every member of the Austin city council runs city-wide. But early this morning, the council voted to put the so-called ten-one plan on the November ballot. That plan would divide Austin into ten geographic districts represented by individual council members, with only the mayor running at-large. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Council Member Mike Martinez decided earlier in the day that they would support a ballot measure containing the exact language of a group called Austinites for Geographic Representation. That group says it has gathered 30,000 signatures in favor of its 10-1 plan. Council Member Martinez noted that this is not the first time city council has been tasked with this issue.

"There's a fundamental difference this time," Martinez said. "And that is a movement has occurred and that there are thousands and thousands of signatures. The work has been done. And it should be respected and honored."

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City Council
4:49 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

In Charter Revision Talks, City Council Ponders How to Put Themselves Out of Office

Council members Bill Spelman and Laura Morrison are wrangling with how best to institute proposed reforms.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Austin City Council held an initial discussion on sweeping reforms to local government this morning reforms that may result in booting them all from City Hall.

The council discussed several recommendations from the 2012 Charter Revision Group. Many measures, largely campaign finance reforms, could be made simply by council action. Council member Laura Morrison suggested they start that work immediately, and put unresolved issues before the voters. “I would like to move forward as quickly as possible,” she said, “and see what results from there, and we still have the option to consider putting it on the ballot.

One reason council members may make the changes themselves – instead of putting them before voters – is to streamline a cluttered ballot this November. They don’t want to distract voters from the biggest local change: a switch from Austin’s current form of elections, where all council members run citywide, to a form of geographic representation, where council members would run in and represent individual districts.

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News Brief
5:49 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/1/11: Charter Revision Meeting, World AIDS Day

A map showing one proposal for new Austin City Council districts.
Image Courtesy of the City of Austin.

How Should Austin City Council Members be Elected?

The City of Austin's 2012 Charter Revision Committee is meeting tonight. It's scheduled to discuss whether to recommend a single member district map, which could include some at-large seats. Under single member districts, council members would represent specific geographic areas of town. Right now all Austin city council members are elected city-wide.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina Street. KUT has reported on some of the proposals on the table, check out that story here.

World AIDS Day

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